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Unformatted text preview: roups were able to learn to hit the underwater
target; however, when the depth of the water was changed, which changed the apparent
position of the target, the group that had had the conceptual explanation was able to
adjust their performance to the new situation more quickly. These results suggest that
conceptual knowledge can influence people’s acquisition of a skill.
Conceptual information is stored as declarative knowledge schemata in long-term
memory. An important aspect of this type of knowledge has to do with understanding
relationships. When faced with a problem or novel situation, understanding the
relationships among the various aspects of a situation allows a person to take more
effective actions. The schema individuals bring to bear on a task affects their perception
and understanding of the task. Differences in these schemata, account for much of the
observed differences in individuals’ performance in these situations. In other words, how
a task is understood the affects the actions a person is likely to take when dealing with the
task (Chi, Feltovich & Glaser, 1981, Chi et al. 1989, and Sweller, 1989). 25
Experts versus novices. One approach to investigating the role that declarative
knowledge plays in transfer has been to study the differences between the performances
of novices and experts in problem solving situations. An expert is a person who has
acquired special skills and knowledge through learning and experience (Ericsson &
Charness, 1994). In general, this research reveals that the more skilled problem solving of
experts a not primarily a difference in intelligence or general problem-solving strategies,
but is more a difference in the amount and quality of domain specific knowledge experts
possess (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). Domain specific knowledge is knowledge
that is pertinent to a particular performance or content area. For example, domain specific
knowledge in physics would include the knowledge a person has accumulated in physics.
The following differences in domain knowledge for experts and novices have been
observed across different domains and age groups (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000;
Chi, Feltovich, & Glaser, 1981; DeGroot, 1965; Ericsson & Simon, 1993; Glaser, 1992;
Peskin, 1998; Zeitz, 1994).
• Because of their extensive and well-organized knowledge base, experts are more
likely than novices to recognize meaningful patterns in problem-solving situations
rather than having to abstract or infer those patterns. • The knowledge base of experts tends to be organized around major principles or
ideas, which helps them classify problems more accurately in terms of the
relevant principle. This type of organization is particularly important for highroad transfer (Johnson, 1995; Perkins & Salomon, 1988). High-road transfer
refers to the thoughtful transfer of knowledge based on the recognition of abstract
principles that govern both situations, such as recognizing two physics problems 26
as being based on the same principle. It contrasts with low-road transfer which is
when prior learning is automatically and directly trans...
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- Spring '08